With a new home for the Falcons currently being constructed, the Georgia Dome’s NFL days are slowly dwindling. For years, it has served as the location for the Falcons home games, the SEC Football Championship and the Peach Bowl college football game, as well as two Super Bowls, multiple Final Four Championships and plenty of other amazing moments in sports history.
It’s for these reasons and more that we’re counting down the top 5 most memorable moments that have occurred over the years in that hallowed hall.
#5 – Vick Comes Back
After having his contract with the Atlanta Falcons terminated and serving prison time due to pleading guilty for running a dogfighting ring out of his home in 2007, Michael Vick returned to the Georgia Dome in 2011 as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The reception was less than friendly, and Vick left the field with a concussion and the Eagles with a loss of 35-31, proving that Atlanta made the right decision.
#4 – Poking a Hole in Reality
Football wasn’t the only sport to grace the Dome; basketball and even professional wrestling competed in the Falcon’s home. The World Championship Wrestling organization was most often the ratings winner versus the World Wrestling Federation, but it was in the Dome that WCW made the most crucial mistakes in its history.
In January of 1999, a fight between Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash was underway. After the two men circled each other for a moment, Hogan poked Nash in the chest, who promptly fell on the mat and was counted out by the referee.
This blatantly fake fight was often referred to as the “Finger Poke Of Doom,” and led to a severe drop in ratings for WCW. Eventually they were sold to the WWF for only $3.5 million.
#3 – Two Teams, Two Battles, One Outcome
Super Bowl XXVIII saw a historic moment – the same two teams from the previous year met again to play for the title. The Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills came together again, with the Bills struggling to overcome the brutal 52-17 loss they received the year before at the Cowboys’ hands.
The Cowboys unfortunately repeated the previous year’s triumph, with the Bills losing 30-13. That game marked the fourth straight Super Bowl loss for the Bills, as well as the last time they have been to the Super Bowl since.
#2 – The Little Ankle that Could
Atlanta famously hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, and the Georgia Dome served as the home for several events, including women’s gymnastics. It was here that the United States women’s gymnastics team, often referred to as the Magnificent Seven, triumphantly won the gold medal.
The most memorable moment of that victory, however, would be Kerri Strug’s infamous vault performance. Having injured her ankle in her first attempt, she nailed the second and was carried to the podium by her coach to receive her gold medal.
#1 – The Record to Break All Records
Tony Gonzalez is known for many records, but there is one that stands above the rest – he is the fifth player in NFL history to cross 15,000 yards and the only tight end to do so. During a brutal game against the Washington Redskins, the Falcon gained the final yards at the Georgia Dome, bringing the entire crowd to their feet to cheer for his victory.
We can only hope that the new home of the Falcons will see such incredible moments, and that the Georgia Dome will see other amazing feats as college football and soccer continue to play within its walls.